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OPIC-backed investments are shrouded in secrecy — and for good reason: Many of the funds appear to be cash cows for the politically well-connected. A look at the people who run them reveals a high-finance jobs program for Washington players, including a former speechwriter, a campaign manager, and a White House staffer. And, of course, big political contributors are well-represented.

Dirk Ziff is co-chair of Ziff Bros. Investments, which manages a $150 million South Asia fund that received OPIC loan guarantees. Ziff, a prominent Democratic donor, was No. 6 on the Mother Jones 400.

John Lugar is Sen. Richard Lugar’s (R-Ind.) son. His South America Private Equity fund, which has received $100 million in loan guarantees from OPIC, stopped accepting investments in 1995.

Bernard Aronson is chairman of ACON Investments, which runs the OPIC-supported Newbridge Andean fund. He was an assistant secretary of state under Bush and a speechwriter for Carter.

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This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

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